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Women empowerment good for marital and family stability

Women empowerment good for marital and family stability

Roundtable: Left to right: Evelyne Ninsiima, Clezanta Natukunda, Francine Tudyazayo, Clementia Murembe Neema & Prossy Nyeitera (host, Voice of Kigezi 89.5 FM)



 A changing climate and environmental degradation are, to a large extent, a result of human ignorance, greed, and recklessness. However, they hit the poor the most, and women more than men. A cultural bias that discriminates against women in nearly everything except who gets pregnant makes them highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, environmental degradation and poverty. 


No doubt, some strides have been made in the status of women in the higher socio-economic stations of our country. However, this progress is yet to translate into better economies and personal family lives for most women. 


The most important fuel that will propel women into a gender-equal society is a combination of solid, practical education and economic self-empowerment.  This is a message that was beautifully delivered on Friday March 4 by four women that participated in a very lively and uplifting one-hour conversation on Voice of Kigezi 89.5 FM. 


The group was put together by Evelyne Ninsiima, a native of Rubanda District, who is the Executive Secretary of Southwestern Regional Development Forum. A Founder and President of Green Environment Promotion (GEP), she has worked in Southwestern Uganda for the past 14 years, championing rural and community development. 


Evelyne, who holds a Master of Science in Sustainability (Environment and Development) from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Management from Makerere University, is an alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program, USA.  


A recipient of several awards, including the unsung Heroine Environment Category (2013), awarded by UN Uganda Chapter, and the Best Tree Planter in Southwestern Uganda (2013), awarded by the Norwegian Government, European Union, and the Government of Uganda, Ninsiima is also the CEO of Live to Inspire Uganda Chapter, a program that champions motivational and inspirational talks amongst teens and youth. 


Dr Clementia Murembe Neema, a native of Isingiro, Nkore, is a Social Anthropologist and senior lecturer in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. She heads the department of Human Development and Relational Sciences. 


Dr. Murembe Neema, who has a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies, and postgraduate degrees in Gender and Development, is highly grounded in ethnographic qualitative research that she uses in community outreach. She recently trained in the use of Digital Story Telling in research, teaching and disseminating shared experiences. 


Her wide experience in teaching, conducting research, particularly on gender inclusiveness in development, made her a useful resource on the steering committee of South Western Initiatives for Regional Development.


Clezanta Natukunda, from Rwamugoma, Ruhinda, Rujumbura, who holds an O-Level School Certificate, is an experienced farmer and businesswoman with extensive experience in community development and self-empowerment.


She has worked with Rukungiri District Farmers Association (RUDFA) as a community best trainer (CBT), focusing on saving and credit,️ gender mainstreaming and gender equality.  She has worked with Rukungiri Gender Development Association (RUGADA) as a change agent and has served as a member of Ruhinda Subcounty Council for 15 years. She now works with Transcultural Physical Social Organization (TPO) Ug in Rukungiri District. She is especially passionate about value addition to banana plantain in the dry season. 


Francine Tudyazayo, from Rwamate, Kagarama, Bubaare in Rubanda District, is a leader in Fremma Community Connect Group, an organization that promotes girls’ education, and income generating and savings initiatives for women groups at village level.  She has trained rural women in mushroom growing and best practices of livestock management.  


Under the theme “Empower Women for Development”, these ladies eloquently spoke about their subject, evidently backed by experience in the trenches. They highlighted the need to teach women how to develop sustainable initiatives; the value of cooperative investment and production; fiscal responsibility and management; and the importance of social empowerment through information and participation in community meetings. 


They emphasized the importance of including husbands in the process and repeatedly spoke about an agenda of strengthening marriages and families, by positively empowered wives and husbands and their children.


Natukunda shared five strategies for development. (1) Selfcare. (2) small business investment. (3) Establishing good relations with one’s family, neighbours, and community. (4) Self-discipline, including avoidance of alcohol. (5) Placing God and His Word at the centre of one’s life.  


The ladies made a strong case for reversal of a trend among some women who have adopted a lot of negative behaviours that used to bedevil men, including drunkenness, verbal and physical aggression, poor self-regulation, indecent dress and general misconduct. 


Respecting husbands was not a sign of weakness, one panelist pointed out. Likewise, an empowered woman makes a good wife. This message resonated very well with male listeners who called into the program to express their desire to hear more from these ladies.  Perhaps they punched a hole in the old myth that feminism seeks to destroy marriages and families. 


Judging from the callers’ comments, the panelists appear to have offered something that the public wanted, namely, an assurance that women’s empowerment is good for marital and family stability. To be sure, Prossy Nyeitera, the host of the show, who exhibited remarkable mastery of how to keep a conversation focused and exciting without interrupting her guests, got so carried away that she went over the allotted time.  


My wife and I, listening via live streaming online, wished the conversation had continued for another hour or more. This was quality radio at its best, the kind that ought to be a regular feature, underwritten by individuals or companies that recognize the long-term benefits of mass education.


 We learnt a lot from each of the panelists. We were especially challenged by Evelyne Ninsiima, whose choice to live and work in her rural community, exemplifies the patriotism of a positive change agent that strives to enhance her people’s capabilities and economic independence.


Ninsiima brought together a team with a message that ought to be heard again and again, by men and women alike, regardless of socioeconomic status. Theirs is a refreshing message of hope, and practical tips on woman empowerment and family and marital stability. Voice of Kigezi has done a great service to its audience. I hope they will offer these women more opportunities to share their knowledge and experience in accessible, real-world language.


© Muniini K. Mulera


Level 1 (XP: 0)
2 years ago
This is so inspirational. I wish we could have more of such programs on radios. Thumbs up to Ninsiima Evelyne and the whole team.

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